Guns N' Roses Vol. 1
When it comes to fame, there are stages. Oprah for example...is only famous compared to us. There's a whole other level, where you're beyond a worldwide spotlight, where people who live a hundred years later are going to know who you are. Michael Jackson for instance. Here's someone that people on Earth will still be talking about in the year 2309. Michael Jordan. Babe Ruth. This is a level of fame so overwhelming that their life is a basement apartment always being remodeled -- they're up early because the workers keep daylight hours, there's no place to move, in fact there's only one place you can go, and that's the bathroom. Kathy Griffin once argued that Little Richard would be this kind of famous. I would argue that the Beatles are this famous. I'm not talking accomplished...I'm talking FAMOUS. A stage where people in Antarctica "of course" know who you are and what you do. There are opportunities when contemporary performers have a shot at arriving on this stage, along with Mickey Mouse and Coca-Cola...and usually that venue is a SuperBowl halftime show, where over a billion people on this globe will be familiar with and interested in the literal stage that you're performing on. Every single American musician likes to play in Europe because a 300,000-seat soccer stadium to play in is NON-EXISTENT in the United States. The Rolling Stones kept hitting this level of fame but they don't seize the moment to expand their reputations the way Michael Jordan and the Beatles did. They think nothing of the wrench in their legacy and the terribly boring and empty ending to their own anthology that will come from their stupid horsecrap. Do they think they're cool or something? Rather then trying to top the past, they simply keep going from town to town and playing "Gimme Shelter" and "Can't Get No Satisfaction" and collect their money with shit-eating grins like there's no catch. Not since the mid 70s have the Rolling Stones ever really blew our minds with something incredible. They never seize the moment the way the Beatles did by coming out with a better album each year then Sergeant Pepper before people even had time to stop hyperventilating over Sergeant Pepper. Or Michael Jordan who somehow became PERFECT...JUST AS Gatorade was telling us we want to be like him.
And then there's folks who get on this plain of fame, and end up doing what Axl Rose did, as frontman of the magnificent Guns N' Roses....
The name Guns N' Roses comes from when L.A. Guns merged with the much lesser known Hollywood Rose. (Guess which one Axl was in!)
What's important to know is that while Axl's the one everyone knows, the guy who wrote the lions-share of the songs...was Izzy Stradlin. The two of them were from northern Indiana, which is why "Dust and Bones" has a reference to "I-SIX-TY-FIVE!"
They did alot of squatting, alot of drinking, alot of staying at nice people's places long after said nice people were too fed up with them and in classes and work all day just to come home to fifty of these people lounging around on every last bit of space. It was amazing that they ever made their way out to California, but Izzy's parents supported him on his journey and got him a plane ticket. They offered Axl one. Axl opted to hitchhike because he wasn't sure if he'd ever make the money to pay them back (in other words -- I don't want to go to any fruity Hollywood, Missus Stradlin. Mister Stradlin).
In L.A, they met Tracii Lords of L.A. Guns through a friend of a friend of Slash, who had played with a friend of a friend of Izzy's. And they did some more squatting. And more drinking. And I don't know if you've ever been to L.A., but it's not like Indiana where kids are taught it's a sign of being a man to work really hard and obey thy father. In L.A., Axl found Lords and company to be and know some PROFESSIONAL slackers. 1 in a million slackers. The kind of people who would get paid by outside observors to sit around and think of ways to steal from the UCLA kid they lived with.
You know what sucks? If you don't pay the electric bill, you lose not only the electricity in your apartment, but the HOT WATER IN YOUR SHOWER. I'll bet the UCLA kid learned that the hard way. After a long...day's...work...ahhhhh...AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
I say UCLA because this was where Guns N' Roses first official show was with that original mergered cast in late 1985. As an opening band, there was no Steven Adler, no Duff McKagan, no Slash. You know who the headliner was they opened for? Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I know what you're asking...wasn't Red Hot Chili Peppers one of the countless bands that would soon open for Guns N' Roses? Might as well have been, my lads! Might as well have been.
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